Almanac: The Ford Edsel – CBS News
“Edsel: Designed for elegance, designed for action!”
And now a page from our “Sunday
Morning” Almanac: September 4th, 1957, 59 years ago today … the day
Americans got their first look at a brand new car.
“This is the Edsel …
Unlike any other car you’ve ever seen!”
Named for Henry Ford’s son,
who had died years before at the age of 49, the Edsel was the Ford company’s
bid to expand market share.
In its TV commercials,
Ford showcased the Edsel’s futuristic features, including its push-button
exclusive ‘Teletouch’ drive you can shift and turn the wheel more safely and easily than ever before,
because both hands remain on the wheel while the Edsel shifts
The Edsel rollout was a
huge event, featuring a mountain of print ads and TV commercials, and an
all-star television spectacular (here on CBS), called “The Edsel
The jazz-inflected show (featuring
Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong), was
produced at CBS Television City and aired on October 13, 1957:
All to no avail.
Critics mocked the Edsel’s
distinctive vertical grille as a horse collar, or worse.
And owners complained
of problems with all those space-age features.
Sales fell drastically
short of projections, and in the fall of 1959, Ford shut down the Edsel assembly
and enthusiasts still keep a few Edsels on the road, for most Americans the
Edsel remains synonymous with failure … failure on something of a cosmic
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